×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

ESPN’s Apple TV Update Lets You Binge-Watch Up to Four Live Streams at Once

ESPN produces more than 60,000 hours of programming each year — and the sports cabler has devised a few new ways to encourage viewers to gorge on more of that content than ever.

A new version of the ESPN App for Apple TV’s tvOS, available Wednesday, includes a feature called MultiCast that provides the ability to view up to four simultaneous live streams at once. On any given day, ESPN users can choose from 30 or more live events airing across its networks.

In addition, ESPN is releasing version 5.10 of its app for iOS and Android featuring a new “Watch” tab that lets users access live-streaming events and shows based on their favorite teams. The update also adds ESPN3 replays to the app’s existing on-demand highlights and long-form video.

“We want to take advantage of all the unique content we have, and make something only ESPN can do,” said Ryan Spoon, ESPN’s senior VP of digital product, design and audience development.

But how often do regular sports fans really want to watch multiple channels at once? ESPN expects the the feature to be popular during college football Saturdays, as well as for events like the College Football Playoff National Championship “megacast” the U.S. Open multicourt coverage. Spoon said ESPN is developing the MultiCast feature for other connected-TV devices but started with Apple TV first because “Apple TV has capabilities to do this that other platforms don’t have.”

The ultimate goal of ESPN, of course, is to not just drive up usage — but to keep subscribers paying for its service. That’s either through traditional pay TV or through the direct-to-consumer video service slated to debut in early 2018 through the ESPN Apps (although NFL and NBA games will not be on the internet-only service).

To that end, the updated ESPN App will include a free, 10-minute preview of a live event, available to non-authenticated users for free. At the end of the preview, fans will be asked to sign in using pay-TV credentials to keep watching.

The MultiView feature on the ESPN App for Apple TV marks the first time the programmer is launching such a capability. With it, users can swap the primary screen, flip audio, expand to full screen, and choose how many live streams appear on the screen and in what configuration.

Down the road, too, ESPN is thinking of using the other tiles in the MultiCast for content aside from video. For example, those could be playing in-game highlights, fantasy sports updates, alerts, scoreboards or social-media posts.

“So much of what we’ve done on our digital platforms is putting more control into the hands of our fans,” said Spoon, “whether that’s a single stream on a 5-inch phone on your pocket or the ability to merge all your favorites on your 60-inch screen.”

To promote the new app features, the sports programmer is kicking off a “Take ESPN Everywhere” campaign ahead of the Labor Day weekend across TV, radio, digital and social. Running from Aug. 28 to Sept. 4, the spots — aimed at driving app downloads and usage — will feature various ESPN talent.

More Digital

  • Murder Mystery

    Netflix Reveals Record-Breaking Stats for Sandler-Aniston 'Murder Mystery' Flick

    “Murder Mystery,” the latest Adam Sandler film to debut on Netflix, broke viewing records on the streaming service, the company revealed Tuesday. The film, which is co-headlined by Jennifer Aniston, was seen by close to 30.9 million households in its first 3 days, according to a tweet sent out Tuesday afternoon. 🚨ADAM SANDLER AND JENNIFER [...]

  • Charles Caldas To Step Down as

    Charles Caldas To Step Down as Merlin CEO

    Charles Caldas, the only CEO that the independent-label collective Merlin has ever known, announced today that he will step down from his post at the end of 2019, after more than 12 years at the helm of the global rights organization. He will continue his current duties until then and work with the Merlin board to [...]

  • Vice Media Digital Makeover Triggers Traffic

    Vice Media Digital Makeover Triggers Traffic Slide

    Life on its own online isn’t easy for Vice Media. Ending the digital publisher’s controversial practice of rolling up web traffic for partner sites into an aggregated number resulted in the total domestic traffic falling nearly by half between March 2019 and the following month, according to Comscore. The numbers improved slightly for May, when [...]

  • Merlin Reports Record Distributions for 2019

    Merlin Reports Record Distributions for 2019

    Global indie-label collective Merlin reported record distributions in its 2019 membership report, paying $845 million to label and distributor members between April 2018 and March of this year. That figure, a 63% year-over-year increase, includes more than $130 million paid out this year from non-royalty income — and included in that figure is the estimated [...]

  • Sarah Iooss - Twitch

    Twitch Hires Sarah Iooss, Former Mic and Viacom Exec, as Head of North America Sales

    Twitch has tapped Sarah Iooss, most recently EVP of revenue at millennial-news startup Mic, to lead the advertising sales team in North America for the Amazon-owned live-streaming video platform focused on video gaming. Iooss will be based in New York, reporting to chief revenue officer Walker Jacobs, who joined Twitch last fall after serving as [...]

  • Calibra app

    Spotify: Facebook's Libra Cryptocurrency Will Help Subscription Services

    When Facebook officially announced its plans for a new cryptocurrency called Libra Tuesday, it also revealed that Spotify was part of a consortium of companies called the Libra Association that is backing the project. The music service hopes that digital money can help subscription services sign up new customers. “One challenge for Spotify and its [...]

  • And Then We Danced

    Swedish Outfit French Quarter Steps Into TV With Graphic Novel Adaptation

    Swedish production company French Quarter, the outfit behind Cannes Directors’ Fortnight entry “And Then We Danced,” is venturing into TV with a web series adapted from Henrik Bromander’s graphic novel “Kurs I självutplåning” (“Course in self-annihilation”). The comedy series has been commissioned by the Swedish broadcaster SVT, as first reported by Nordic Film & TV [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content